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Wigington, Carruthers, Murphy win board seats

Republican Kim Wigington and Democrat Heather Carruthers were elected to the Monroe County Commission Tuesday, and Republican Sylvia Murphy also was re-elected.

In District 1, Wigington, who is retired, defeated Democrat Bill Estes, who manages a Big Pine Key dive shop, 59 percent to 41 percent, or 21,617 votes to 15,079. In District 3, Carruthers, who owns the Pearl’s Rainbow guesthouse in Key West, defeated Republican Carlos Rojas, an architect, 63 percent to 32 percent, or 23,299 votes to 11,896. Sloan Bashinsky received a little over 4 percent, or 1,656 votes.

Key Largo resident Murphy, retired from a career in emergency services, beat Sal Gutierrez, a retired air-conditioning company owner who ran with no party affiliation. Murphy got 76 percent — 26,211 votes to Gutierrez’s 8,469.

The three commissioners will take their seats Nov. 19.

Wigington said of Estes, “We had a lot of respect for each other and I still have a lot of respect for him.”

Carruthers said her work with Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe, which helped lower windstorm insurance rates in the Keys, was a big part of why she won.

Rojas congratulated all of the commission candidates, and said the races were models for how campaigns should be run.

“It doesn’t seem like it now but I think I have accomplished a lot” by educating voters on the issues, he said.

Wigington replaces Republican Dixie Spehar and Carruthers replaces Republican Sonny McCoy, who were defeated in the primary election.

Murphy was initially elected in 2006 in a special election to fill the two remaining years of the term of Murray Nelson, who died in office.